Plant-Wide Hazards » Chemical Hazards

Chemicals associated with accidents in the poultry processing industry in OSHA’s computer database include:

  • Ammonia,
  • Chlorine,
  • Carbon dioxide,
  • Phosphoric acid in combination with sodium hydroxide,
  • "Foam cleaner," and
  • Hydraulic fluid (Hydraulic fluid from a broken line contributed to the 1991 fire at Imperial Foods in Hamlet, NC).

The industry uses a wide variety of cleaners and sanitizers. With the emphasis of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems and other regulatory measures to decrease pathogenic bacteria, the types and strengths of cleaners are changing.

Other changes in the use of chemicals in response to HACCP include:

  • Increased chlorine sprays and rinses on processing equipment in evisceration and reprocessing and total chlorine in the chiller,
  • Use of antimicrobial chemicals in sprays or in the chiller to reduce E. coli and Salmonella,
  • A larger quantity of wastewater treatment chemicals used due to the greater volume of wastewater,
  • Larger quantities of and new toxic chemicals used in on-site laboratory testing for Salmonella and E. coli.

There are also naturally-occurring chemical hazards as well. Crystalline silica exposures in animal receiving can exceed OSHA limits. The source of the silica is the dirt released from the feathers of the birds.

OSHA has a number of standards designed to control employee exposure to specific chemicals. These standards are found in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Z - Toxic and Hazardous Substances.

In addition, OSHA has two important standards that require programs to evaluate and control a variety of chemical hazards in the workplace. These standards are: